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Exhibiting Slavery

The Caribbean Postmodern Novel as Museum

Vivian Nun Halloran

Publication Year: 2009

In a strikingly interdisciplinary and multilingual analysis of Caribbean postmodern historical novels about slavery alongside museum exhibitions about slavery throughout the Caribbean and the US, Vivian Halloran shows how the novels as well as the exhibits seek to educate their audiences about reconstructing the past from fragmented evidence and relating historical memory and collective mourning in the creation of narratives about that past. The literary and museum portrayals work together in confronting the trauma of slavery in much the same way as Holocaust memorials, fiction, and film confront the trauma of genocide.

Published by: University of Virginia Press

Title Page

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Copyright Page

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Table of Contents

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-x

The original research for this book was made possible by the expert guidance of Professors Jenny Sharpe, John Skirius, and Ross Shideler at UCLA. Thanks to their willingness to let me write papers on Caribbean literature, I became interested in postmodern historical fiction about...

Note on Translations

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pp. xi-

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Introduction: Novels as Museums in a Postmodern Age

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pp. 1-20

Following the 2001 passage of the so-called Taubira law, which declared slavery and the slave trade to be crimes against humanity, the French government created a national Committee for the Remembrance of Slavery made up of writers, museum curators, and historians hailing from France and its overseas departments: Guadeloupe, Martinique, R

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1. Books as National (Literary) History Museums

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pp. 21-50

In October 1992, the Museum of the Americas opened its doors in San Juan, Puerto Rico, to coincide with the five-hundredth anniversary of Colombus’s “discovery” of the New World.¹ Located on the site of the former barracks of the Spanish colonial army, el cuartel Ballajá, the Museum of the Americas houses three permanent...

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2. Art Museums: Visual (Inter)Texts

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pp. 51-78

Thematic exhibitions at art museums regularly display visual and three-dimensional art objects as representative of larger sociopolitical conflicts or movements that characterized a particular era. During the summer of 2005, the Milwaukee Art Museum hosted an exhibition in its Decorative Arts Gallery entitled About...

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3. Ethnographic Museums: The Literary Diorama

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pp. 79-99

As I argue in chapter 1, Maryse Condé’s I, Tituba, Patrick Chamoiseau’s L’esclave, and Reinaldo Arenas’s Graveyard of the Angels use intertextual citations to place themselves within the framework of a national literary tradition and/or history in Barbados, Martinique, and Cuba, respectively, regardless of their authors’ birthplace. In...

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4. Between Plantation and Living History Museum

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pp. 100-120

Whereas both the ethnographic museum and literary dioramas of the African villages discussed in the previous chapter maintain a sense of the historical divide separating visitors/readers from the scenes depicted by emphasizing their subjects’ exotic otherness, plantation and living history museums try to do the reverse: they emphasize the...

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5. World Heritage Sites: The Fortress

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pp. 121-148

The islands circumscribed by the Caribbean basin bear the ruins left behind by violent encounters between transnational antagonists too numerous to tally. Architectural and geographic landmarks situated throughout the islands silently attest to the physical and temporal reality of these bloody episodes in the region’s history. Military...

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6. Mourning Museums: Diasporic Practices

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pp. 149-175

There are public memorials erected in memory of important historical figures that rose up against the plantation system of slavery and gained fame and prominence in their fight for liberty throughout the islands of the Caribbean. These monuments not only commemorate the heroic actions of brave individuals who usually lost their lives in the...

Notes

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pp. 177-190

Bibliography

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pp. 191-202

Index

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pp. 203-207


E-ISBN-13: 9780813928685
E-ISBN-10: 0813928680
Print-ISBN-13: 9780813928654
Print-ISBN-10: 0813928656

Page Count: 224
Publication Year: 2009

Series Title: New World Studies
Series Editor Byline: J. Michael Dash

Research Areas

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Subject Headings

  • Caribbean fiction (French) -- History and criticism.
  • Caribbean fiction -- 20th century -- History and criticism.
  • Slavery in literature.
  • Archives in literature.
  • Slavery -- Caribbean Area -- History -- Sources.
  • Danticat, Edwidge, ǂd 1969- ǂx Criticism and interpretation ǂv Handbooks, manuals, etc.
  • Caribbean fiction (English) -- History and criticism.
  • Caribbean fiction (Spanish) -- History and criticism.
  • Postmodernism (Literature) -- Caribbean Area.
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